Step 12: Cat reactions
When we were bringing the post into the room with the cats for the first time, they were already attempting to climb on it before we could even set it down. Within five minutes, they had both climbed it and they played King of the Mountain for the rest of the evening.
At first, they were still clawing the furniture, but I would pick them up and move them to the post, demonstrate scratching on it, and reward them if they completed their scratching behavior on the post. After a few weeks, they started going to the post and scratching at it, in order to get attention and petting. (Who's training who?)
After six months, they still scratch at the other furniture occasionally, when they are in a naughty mood and running around like maniacs, to get attention. But, they know they will be scolded and for the most part, they use the post. My new sofa is still in one piece.
Both of my cats have been using the post daily (or more likely hourly) for the past six months. They climb up and down the post like a tree, with their arms spread out around it. They fight and tumble all over it and they like to throw themselves bodily through the air and stick to the side of it like velcro.
After I put a larger, 18" diameter top on the post, I sometimes now find them curled up on top of it together, but their favorite game is still King of the Mountain.